Barclays to review the shape and size of its investment bank: Sources

Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:03pm EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Steve Slater

(Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L: Quote) is reviewing the size and shape of its investment bank, in a review that is expected to result in it shrinking and focusing on its most profitable areas, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The review - which will focus on whether the London-based bank should exit business that is balance sheet heavy and low-return - is already under way and will be completed by summer, sources said.

The Financial Times said the review could result in thousands of job cuts and the possible departure of the co-heads of the investment bank, Tom King and Eric Bommensath.(link.reuters.com/nec67v)

A spokesman for Barclays said there were no plans for any change in leadership in the investment bank. The bank declined further comment.

The shake-up comes after an angry reaction from shareholders to news last month that Barclays had increased bonus payments by 10 percent last year to 2.4 billion pounds ($4 billion), despite of a one-third fall in its pre-tax profits.

Critics said Chief Executive Antony Jenkins needed to get greater control over costs in his investment bank, especially after he said in a newspaper interview that he had been forced to raise pay for investment bankers in the United States to prevent a "death spiral" at the bank.

The aim of the investment bank review will be to improve profitability, the source said. The division last year generated a return on equity of 8.2 per cent - below its cost of capital - while its ratio of costs to income increased from 39.6 to 43.2 per cent.

Tougher regulations and weak trading in fixed income, which generates most of the profits at Barclays' investment bank, are putting ever greater pressure on returns. The bank was forced to improve its leverage ratio last year, which also influences the future size of the investment bank.   Continued...

 
Logos are seen outside a branch of Barclays bank in London July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville